Spend hundreds of dollars on the Internet to consult the doctor, is it reliable?

Be careful not to step into the "consultation trap"

With the development of Internet medical treatment, more and more patients with common and frequent diseases have begun to self-check the causes of the disease online and seek a cure through "online consultation". At the same time, experts in many hospitals have also launched online free consultation, convenient outpatient clinics, remote consultation and other services.

Some criminals smell the "business opportunity", pretend to be experts to carry out health consulting services online, and use the psychology of consumers to carefully design their words, boast of their medical skills and medicinal effects, and take the opportunity to sell health products or counterfeit drugs to patients. How to avoid "online consultation" becoming a "consultation trap"?

The website misleads patients under the name of a doctor

Court: Judgment of the defendant's website for infringement

Recently, the Beijing Internet Court has added a number of online infringement liability disputes involving health consulting service platforms. The plaintiffs in these disputes were all doctors from major third-class hospitals in Beijing, and they accidentally discovered a large number of health answers provided in their name on some platforms, and the answers contained content that clearly exceeded the scope of normal medical consultation answers.

Dr. Li is the deputy chief physician of the Department of Rheumatology and Immunology at a tertiary hospital in Beijing. Earlier, during a home visit, a patient said that he had consulted Dr. Li online about rheumatism treatment, and received a reply from Dr. Li, saying that a drug and health product can treat rheumatic diseases, and the effect is good.

Dr. Li told reporters that answering patients' questions online is his daily work, but the content described by this patient similar to promoting health products is certainly not his own reply.

Dr. Lee asked the patient for the website's website, and he found that the website used not only his name and avatar to answer the patient's questions, but also the names and avatars of other doctors he knew to answer the patient's questions, and the content was all promoting health supplements.

Dr. Li, along with four other doctors who were falsely used to answer patients' questions, filed a lawsuit against the site through lawyers.

After hearing, the court held that the defendant's act of arbitrarily grabbing information from the Internet to answer patients' questions was not fair use of information, which constituted an infringement of the name rights of several doctors.

Guo Sheng, a judge of the first comprehensive trial division of the Beijing Internet Court, said that in this case, the defendant used the plaintiff's name for commercial operations to obtain traffic value, which completely deviated from the scope of fair use stipulated in the Civil Code. Therefore, the court ultimately ruled that such conduct by the defendant was not fair use.

In addition, the court held that the content published on the website had an impact on the plaintiff's social evaluation and constituted a defamation infringement of the plaintiff. In the end, the court ruled that the defendant's conduct had infringed the plaintiff's right to name and reputation, and the defendant should bear the corresponding legal responsibility.

How to eliminate the "consultation trap"?

Lawyers: Regulatory authorities and platforms need to work together

When the reporter searched for "hair loss" related content on a well-known search engine, he came up with a number of advertising links, showing that the Q&A doctors were from hospitals in many places across the country. Reporters click on one of the links that show "Featured" content to jump to a conversation window. At this point, the conversation person displayed on the page is a doctor from a third-class hospital in Beijing. Later, when the reporter consulted him, the doctor at the conversation window turned into another avatar.

When the reporter asked a more detailed question, a paid link popped up on the website asking for personal information, including a mobile phone number. The reporter found that answering the same question, the charging price of multiple consultation platforms has a large difference, ranging from tens of yuan to hundreds of yuan.

The Detailed Rules for the Supervision of Internet Diagnosis and Treatment (Trial) released in 2022 set out detailed provisions on social concerns such as prescription review, privacy protection, and quality control of diagnosis and treatment in Internet diagnosis and treatment.

Lawyer Liu Manjiang believes that eliminating the "consultation trap" requires the cooperation of regulatory authorities and relevant platforms. Health administrative departments should strictly establish an administrative licensing system, and improve the electronic registration system for local Internet consultation medical institutions and practitioners.

Liu Manjiang said that for medical institutions or doctors and experts who intend to open online consultations, the Internet health consultation and consultation platform should strictly review their qualification conditions in accordance with relevant regulations. Once illegal acts such as fooling patients and selling counterfeit drugs are discovered, the relevant online accounts should be promptly suspended and submitted to the relevant departments for accountability in accordance with law.

According to the Voice of China of the Central Radio and Television Corporation